RealNews

Protesters Storm Georgia Parliament

The opposition in the former Soviet republic of Georgia launched what it called a “velvet revolution” Saturday as protesters stormed parliament, occupied President Eduard Shevardnadze’s headquarters and declared their leader the acting head of state. Armed guards whisked Shevardnadze away from the parliament building after demonstrators broke into the chamber while he was speaking. Fleeing to a government residence, he called the revolt an “armed coup d’etat,” declared a state of emergency and gave the opposition 48 hours to clear out of government buildings. Armored vehicles surrounded the Interior Ministry late in the evening, but riot police in the streets largely refused to intervene, allowing protesters free rein in the capital of Tbilisi, suggesting that Shevardnadze no longer had full control. Hours after demonstrators took over parliament, security guards permitted them to enter the government seat of power at the State Chancellery, snatch Shevardnadze’s chair from his office, move it outside and burn it. Full Story

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